The urban households of India all together generate over 62 Million tonnes of garbage in a year, out of which a whopping 85 % is Recyclable. There are various types of solid wastes including, municipal, agricultural, and special like hazardous and household etc.

Getting rid of garbage isn’t every entrepreneur’s first choice of work but the handful working on responsible waste management say it’s easy pickings

Hi Everyone Today We Will Talk About How Startups are Turning Trash into Cash

Searching for scarp dealer to sell your paper, books and magazines, plastics, e-waste or household metal?  If yes, than with the help of these Startup’s you can sell your used stuff by just going online.

Startups Turning Trash into Cash

The ever evolving startup space coupled with technological innovation has led to the creation of various business models and ventures that are truly unique and are harbingers of social change.

Waste Management Market

Estimates put the waste generated per day in India at 0.15 Million tonnes. According to business research organisation NOVONOUS, the waste management market is expected to be worth $13.62 Billion by 2025. Indian municipal solid waste (MSW) management market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.14% by 2025, while e-waste management market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.03% during the same period.

With the proliferation of waste management startups in India, the domestic industry is estimated to grow over $1 Billion by 2020.


While waste recycling doesn’t see as much Venture Capital thrown ($75 Million so far) at it as say e-commerce, there are some notable companies in this space which have raised funding. For instance, there is Noida-based Attero Recycling, which mines precious metals from e-waste that raised $31 Million from Kalaari Capital, IndoUS Venture Partners, IFC, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Granite Hill Capital Partners, Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) & Forum Synergies. inTarvo being on the Second Place Raised $22 Million from Motilal Oswal, NEA, Sonoma Management Partners Pvt Ltd, InnoVen Capital. RenewGen Enviro Ventures raising $9 Million from Undisclosed Investors, Lets Recycle Raised $4.5 Million from Aavishkaar, Followed by Pastiwala which raisied $4 Million from Undisclosed Investors, Another firm Delhi-based Karma Recycling, which raised an undisclosed sum during its Series A funding from Infuse Ventures and Low Carbon Enterprise Fund.

Investors are also betting high on the growth of this industry.  Bengaluru-based Saahas Waste Management raised an undisclosed amount from Indian Angel Network (IAN) and Upaya Social Ventures.

Are you still throwing out those empty cans from last night’s party? If yes, then wait a minute! Did you know that recycling one ‘aluminum can’ saves enough energy to run a TV for 3 hours? It’s the same with all the paper and packaging material you throw away. Recycling 1 ton of paper can save 17 trees! Not only this, recycling comes with a price but here you will be the one who’s earning.

Now you must be wondering how this is possible. So, let me introduce to you some of the interesting startups which are bringing social change by catering this space.

Government Initiatives

The environment ministry has given a blanket exemption to all solid waste management projects from taking prior environmental clearances.

The exemption from prior environmental clearances for projects, barring landfill sites, comes as a major relief for Indian Government’s cleanliness initiative as it would cut down the time taken by waste treatment projects to get off the ground. According to urban development ministry officials, the time taken, which was anywhere between 6 Months and a year, would now be cut down by at least 6 Months.

Solid Waste Management Projects Get Blanket Exemption From Taking Prior Green Clearance

The biggest problem the ministry of housing and urban affairs was facing in the implementation of solid waste treatment and processing projects was different rules for different facilities.

The ministry had then written to environment ministry to revisit the issue. An expert group was formed in June in environment ministry and it recommended that apart from a proposal of a fresh landfill site, no other projects would be required to get environmental clearances.

The environment ministry has spelt out waste to energy plants up to a capacity of 15MW would not require any environmental clearance. “Municipal solid waste management involves various steps like door-to-door collection, segregation, composting, refuse derived fuel making, waste to energy generation through waste to energy plants and disposal in scientific landfills.


POM POM, is a web-based recycling platform that helps you to dispose recyclable waste in a responsible manner at your doorstep, while paying you the best possible price for the same.

Founded by Deepak Sethi and Kishor K Thakur, POM POM has started its operations in South Delhi. The best part about this startup is that it is all done via a quick call, message or putting in a request via the mobile app. Pom Pom has apps for iOS and Android.

“We believe that if we incentivize people to segregate at source this problem could be solved to a great extent. We not only intend to ease out the process for our valuable customers but also make them feel that they are contributing towards their society and towards Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by taking this one simple step with us,” Deepak Sethi, Co-founder and CEO, Pom Pom Recycling Pvt Ltd.

Deepak Sethi, CEO and Co-founder of Pom Pom, says while explaining why segregation had failed at the municipal level. “Segregation, recycling, can be done. But at the end of the day, it gets mixed up again, so there’s no value to it.” Because of this, he says it’s better if people give the recyclables to Pom Pom. “We can pay them for it, and give them a professional service. Maybe that will change the situation,” he says.

Startups are now applying an app-based, profit-driven model to the waste problem. Pom Pom helps users recycle waste scrap materials like glass, plastic, cardboard, and waste paper.

The founders have more than 7 years of experience in recycling waste from the Delhi Airport, Sethi says, with a revenue model purely based on recyclables that are collected from the airport, then segregated and sold. “That’s where the confidence came from. We know the value it has, instead of letting it go away as a waste,” adds Sethi.

GEM Enviro Management

The idea of GEM Enviro Management had its origin in Ganesha Ecosphere Limited, where the founding team Dinesh Parikh, Sachin Sharma, and Aditya Parikh became acquainted with each other.

Incorporated in 2013, GEM collects Pre & Post Consumer Packaging Waste from Factories, Offices, Hotels, Motels, and Institutes. The wasted collected is then recycled into products such as T-shirts, Caps, and Bags.

GEM Enviro Management Raised its Seed Capital from Family & Friends.

GEM Enviro Management Team

The products are sold under its brand called ‘Being Responsible’. Its client base includes biggies like Bisleri, Pepsi, Cipla, IDFC Bank, Sun Pharma, and Google.

Coca-Cola was GEM’s first client. According to Sachin CEO of GEM Enviro Management, it took them 1 year to finalise the deal.

Sachin claims that on an average, every household disposes about 20 bottles a month. Collectively, a society with 500 flats will generate 10,000 bottles. Thus, by using the reverse vending machines consumers can win rewards in the form of freebies and other incentives.

To collect materials for recycling, GEM has set up Vending Machines. In future they are planning to generate revenue by placing advertisements in vending machines.

GEM fundamentally generates revenue from the sale of packaging scrap to recyclers and sale of recycled merchandise to corporate entities. The platform has tied up with Ganesh Ecosphere, where it sells the PET waste and gains a certain percentage of margin. After Ganesh Ecosphere churns out fibre from the PET waste, GEM buys the fibre and manufactures T-shirts, caps, and bags. The products range between Rs 250 and Rs 700.

With presence in Delhi NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Currently, GEM’s client base consists of Fortune 500 companies and is planning to rope in more number of companies in the FMCG, food and beverage, and pharmaceuticals sector.

Attero – Electronics Asset Management Company

Attero actively promotes eco-friendly reuse and recycling of electronics. Being an end-to-end e-waste recycler and metal extraction company, they aim to turn today’s waste into sustainable resources for tomorrow.

Turning Today’s Waste Into Sustainable Resources For Tomorrow

Attero aims to increase value for all electronic inventories, right from end of life electronics to surplus and seconds electronics, while ensuring a safer and more secure future for the planet. It is mainly concerned with E-waste mining.

They extract pure metals from end- of-life electronics in an environmentally responsible manner. As a NASA recognized technology innovator, they have developed disruptive technology that allows them to set up low cost, low capacity eco-friendly recycling plants for processing e-Waste and extracting rare earth and precious metals.

Attero Recycling, raised $31 Million from Kalaari Capital, IndoUS Venture Partners, IFC, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Granite Hill Capital Partners, Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) & Forum Synergies

Moreover, they also offer services like country-wide pick up, collection and tracking of electronic assets, reverse logistics management, electronics asset recovery, data security, refurbishment, e-waste recycling and disposal. They have launched an e-commerce platform that acts as a dedicated retail channel for the direct sale of refurbished and surplus electronics to consumers.

Namo e-Waste

Collection is just one part of the problem. Akshay Jain and his Namo e-waste have gone a step further and set up a plant with an installed capacity of over 35,000 metric tonnes. “We deal with any kind of e-waste and quote rates based on the condition of the material. Refurbished things are sold through online channels and distribution networks. The products have a standard warranty of 90 days,” said Jain.

Namo e-waste founder Akshay Jain

He takes care of the end-to-life process, or extracting metal content and selling it as a commodity and removing the hazardous content before sending it to a foundry. “Old CRT monitors have hazardous glass and sulphur content. We extract these, store them as per safe disposal norms and transport them to dumping sites approved by the government,” he said.

Women dismantle and refurbish old appliances at Namo e-waste

With an investment of $2 Million, Jain’s startup processes 10 tonnes of waste every day. In 2016, 30% of the material collected was refurnished, most of them laptops, servers, desktops and mobile phones. “We are looking to get into precious metal recovery as well but that needs superior equipment,” he said.

Market Size

The initiative was first taken by Waste Management Inc. in 1971. It is mainly based in North America. The company is headquartered in the First City Tower in Houston, Texas. The company includes 367 collection operations, 355 transfer stations, 273 active landfill disposal sites, 16 waste-to-energy plants, 134 recycling plants, 111 beneficial use landfill gas projects, and 6 independent power production plants. Today, not only abroad, but, even India has several start-ups for waste management.

Bengaluru-based IT firm Mindtree, through its community initiatives has tried to reduce the quantum of garbage sent to the landfill. Today, we are seeing a few more players enter this space, and hopefully, bring change to our cities.

Here, we are presenting some of them:

  1. ExtraCarbon

Anant Avinash and Gaurav Joshi of ExtraCarbon

While doing his initial research, Gaurav Joshi, who runs ExtraCarbon with Anant Avinash discovered that recyclers were importing waste to run their plants. “I wondered why they had to bring waste from outside when we have so much. So we decided to be an Uber of sorts for e-waste,” said Joshi. ExtraCarbon has a fleet of kabadiwallas (Scrap Dealers) registered on the platform in 6 cities. One can place on a request on their app, website, through social media or give them a call and a kabadiwalla or ‘Green Superhero’ will be sent to collect waste. Those contributing waste can take cash or collect credits that can be used to shop online or deposited in a Paytm wallet. Joshi’s work doesn’t end there. The waste is collected from the kabadiwalla, transported to the warehouse, weighed and segregated before being handed over to recyclers. “On average, we collect 40kg per home per pickup,” said Joshi.

  1. BinBag

The Eureka Moment for Achitra Borgohain, was when he used to struggle to get rid of e-waste while shifting homes. He joined NSRCEL, the incubator in IIM-Bengaluru, with a vague idea that transformed into Binbag. For 18 Months, he went door-to-door picking up e-waste in his car. “The logistics and economics of serving individual houses doesn’t work out. We received enquiries from apartment complexes concerned about responsible waste disposal,” he said. Focussing on bulk generators, Binbag offers a marketplace to bridge the gap between waste generators and processors.

“No one would consider Waste Management an Option till they are Pushed into it. Only when You Smell your Trash does it Hit You.”

– Borgohain of Binbag

  1. Karma Recycling

Founded in 2013, Karma Recycling was born with the philosophy that a useless device for someone can turn into a useful device for someone else. Realizing that the e-waste that is negatively impacting our environment could positively be stimulating the economy, they choose to reuse mobile devices. The venture buys old gadgets from tier 1 cities and resells them in semi urban cities.

Turning Useless Device For Someone Into A Useful Device For Someone Else

So, next time if you are going to throw any junk, just think once. You never know that junk could turn into someone ‘s else useful device or it can even make you earn some money.

  1. Eco-wise

Headquartered at Noida, India. Ecowise waste management provides comprehensive waste management services to a variety of establishments including residential, commercial and industrial entities. They ensure that, the waste collected by them are treated and disposed in accordance with MSW Rules 2000. Ecowise is an ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001 Certifications.

  1. Vermigold

Vermigold is an on-site organic waste recycling Systems Company which combines advanced vermiculture biotechnology with cutting edge engineering to enable end users to Recycle organic waste in a trouble free and eco friendly manner. Vermigold ecotech has won the 2013 Energy Globe award from India. It is India’s first and only Internationally certified waste management system that certifies their system as best in class and kindest to the environment.

  1. Sampurn Earth

A Mumbai Based Venture Sampurn Earth is founded by Debartha Banerjee, Jayanth N & Ritvik Rao in Sep 2012. They primarily work on Design and Operation of customised Waste Management Systems. They primarily works with over 50 corporate on waste disposal and many municipalities to augment existing infrastructure. They are Planning to work with National player, work with more corporate and is talking to city municipalities to step up adoption of its solutions.

“A one size fits all solution won’t work in India, where Housing Societies, Corporate Parks and Factories have very Different Garbage Generation”

– Debartha Banerjee

  1. Synergy Waste Management (P) Ltd.

It is one of the leading service providers for Bio-Medical waste management in India. Promoters are the Rawalwasia Group. They are generally operators of Common Bio-medical waste treatment facilities, part of urban infrastructure in India. Areas of operations are New Delhi, Meerut, Lucknow, Hisar, Bhagalpur and Gaya. It is ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 certifications. Also, it is the largest Indian home grown operator of CBWTFs.

  1. Green Power Systems

Green Power Systems (GPS Renewables Pvt. Ltd.) is a waste management technology firm. GPS custom builds units for an unsegregated waste ecosystem. The inaugural products, BioOrja and Biowaste Shredder, are arguably the first waste-to-energy solution for urban India. GPS intends to enable any urban establishment to have an economically viable waste-to-energy solutions.

“We’ve been profitable from the Beginning so we didn’t need to seek VC Funding”

– Malnak Chakraborty

  1. Timarpur-Okhla Waste Management Pvt Ltd.

Timarpur-Okhla Municipal Solid waste management project is the first commercial waste-to-energy facility in India that aims to convert one-third of the Delhi garbage into the much needed electricity, enough to serving 6 lakh homes. The project is CDM is registered with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for earning Carbon Credits.

  1. Let’s Recycle

It is an initiative of NEPRA Resource management Pvt. Ltd., a social enterprise that operates in segment of Dry Waste Management and Recycling, where it collects Dry Waste from Waste generators and segregates the recyclables and sends to authorized recyclers. Lets Recycle Raised $4.5 Million from Aavishkaar It provides environmental benefit- diverted over 3000+ MT towards recycling.

“Government Agencies aren’t Equipped to Deal with this Quantum of Garbage and Decentralised Solutions are a must to Manage this Mess”

– Sandeep Patel

  1. Antony Waste Handling Cell Pvt. Ltd.

Antony waste handling cell, an offshoot of Antony group of companies, Mumbai is one of the leading players in the field of Solid waste management services in the country, since the past 8 years. It has features as Engineered Sanitary land filling., Refuse Transfer stations, etc.

  1. Waste Ventures

A Hyderabad Based Venture Waste Ventures is founded by Parag Gupta in 2011. They primarily work in 3 Tier III Cities and Hyderabad. They are Planning to expand to 20 Smaller towns nationwide they also has a deal with the Telangana Government to provide waste management  service at 50 locations in the State.


While the opportunity in waste management has been established, its inherent challenges keep entrepreneurs away. The lack of proven models and success stories has kept waste management from becoming a large sector. There is the social stigma as well.

It seems like All these startups aren’t worried about competition, or someone stealing their business model. “In the waste sector, you need to have knowledge about recyclables, you need to know the buyers and sellers, it takes a lot of expertise. That’s why people have not made a big attempt on it,” says Pom Pom’s Sethi.


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